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    Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis & More

    06. 25. 2018

    Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a rare condition that is characterized by repeated episodes of nausea, vomiting and exhaustion.

    The defining characteristic of CVS is cyclic nature of the attacks. Episodes can vary in duration from a few hours to many days, separated by segments of time where symptoms subside. This on-and-off pattern differentiates CVS from other digestive conditions.

    Cyclic Vomiting Symptoms During or Between Attacks:

    • Pale skin
    • Lethargy
    • Headaches (migraines)
    • Abdominal pain
    • Lack of appetite
    • Extreme thirst
    • Drooling or spitting
    • Sensitivity to light

    Episodes tend to follow a similar pattern in duration, frequency, severity and time of day they begin. Some patients are so incapacitated during CVS episodes that they are bedridden or have to go to the emergency room.

    Kids Susceptible to CVS

    CVS occurs more often in children, frequently beginning between the ages of three and seven, but adults can be affected as well. The cause of CVS is unknown, but it may be due to an abnormality in the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary body functions. Many patients with CVS experience other autonomic problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), delayed gastric emptying, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis or constipation.

    CVS Diagnosis

    If you think you may have cyclic vomiting syndrome, you should make an appointment with a GI specialist. After reviewing your medical history and performing an exam, your doctor may request a blood and/or urine sample and recommend some metabolic and liver tests (National Organization for Rare Disorders).

    A GI Doctor May Suggest the Following:

    • Gastric emptying test
    • Upper GI endoscopy
    • Brain MRI
    • Upper GI tract X-ray testing
    • Abdominal ultrasound

    If you’d like to be connected with a board-certified gastroenterologist in your area, click here and enter your zip code in the orange box that says Find a Specialist.

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